Director: Steve Beck
Cast: Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard
Release Date: July 28, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
What a house! It’s all steel and glass and elegance – and it all belongs to Arthur Kriticos and his family as an unexpected inheritance. You could say it’s their dream home. Especially if the dreams are nightmares.
Awesome ectoplasmic specters populate Thirteen Ghosts, an effects-rampant remake of the 1960 William Castle haunted-house film from producers Gilbert Adler, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, who conjured up the equally terrorific House On Haunted Hill (1999). Tony Shalhoub leads a cast that includes Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga and F. Murray Abraham. The house itself is a design marvel and a mysterious puzzle-cube whose eerie corridors, sliding walls, spinning floors and phantasmic fiends may allow no escape.
‘Thir13en Ghosts’ tells the story of widowed family man Arthur Kriticos who after struggling to keep his family afloat following the loss of his wife years prior inherits a breathtaking, one of a kind glass house from a long disconnected relative. Unable to resist the opportunity albeit hesitant of why, Arthur and his family head out to the secluded home and are blown away by this marvel of a home and when he’s informed money will no longer be an issue, it’s hard to believe his luck. Unfortunately, what Arthur is unaware of is the collection of dangerous ghosts that reside in the basement and when an old associate of the deceased shows up and claims that he and his family are in danger, he must decide whether to ignore the potential supernatural threat or play it safe and get out before it’s too late.
‘Thir13en Ghosts’ marks the second offering from Dark Castle Entertainment and similar to their first production (1999’s ‘House on Haunted Hill’) is also based upon a William Castle film, in this case 1960’s ’13 Ghosts’ directed by Castle. The 2001 horror outing takes a somewhat new approach to the material and utilizes a noteworthy cast and a plethora of dazzling effects (something a few individuals have complained about but I found to only benefit the film’s style) to offer horror fans a delightfully bloody, tense and just downright fun ride into a house of terrors. I’ve always had a soft spot for this film since catching it in theaters opening weekend back in 2001 and for the most part it still holds up remarkably well, delivering a wildly entertaining and fast paced horror offering that never seems to get stale or repetitive. Directed by Steve Beck who made his directorial debut with ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ and brings his knowledge of visual effects to the helm in order to form this into quite the visually stunning effects extravaganza, and his capable work behind the camera is only complimented by a great cast that includes Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Rah Digga and F. Murray Abraham.
Overall, ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ is a bloody, wildly enjoyable and visually spectacular horror outing that offers up a ninety minute thrill ride that only gets better with repeat viewings, now finally available in its own Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release! The new Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ is definitely recommended for fans of the movie, especially those who don’t already own it as part of the old WB 2-pack Blu-ray release with ‘Ghost Ship’. While there may not be a new transfer of the film included, the new Blu-ray still offers pretty solid high definition video and audio presentations, along with a noteworthy collection of extras including many created specifically for this Collector’s Edition release. Altogether it’ll likely make this one a must own for many fans and those who have been holding out for a standalone release of the film on Blu-ray.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite good for the most part and offers a smooth, clean and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish that does suffer to a degree from some tamer colors that appear to be somewhat washed out, and while it may not be as vivid or sharp as some would hope, it still delivers quite nicely as a whole and should mostly please the fans who have been waiting for a standalone release of the film on Blu-ray all these years. Overall, this is a capable high definition video presentation that may not be absolutely perfect, but still looks pretty nice altogether.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack makes a splendid compliment to the onscreen insanity and effects, providing a crisp, clean and steadily active audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send eerie effects, chatter and supernatural elements along with plenty more regularly zipping throughout the various speakers, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements occurring simultaneously remain clear and audible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that constantly contributes some additional fun to the viewing experience and should largely thrill the fans.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘Thir13en Ghosts’ includes a healthy collection of bonus content featuring numerous brand new extras created specifically for this release. The release features 2 Audio Commentaries; the first being a new ‘Audio Commentary with Director Steve Beck’ and the second a previously released ‘Audio Commentary with the Creative Team’. We’re also treated to a collection of brand new interviews exclusive to this release, they include: ‘Haunted in Canada with Shannon Elizabeth’ (running approximately 10 minutes in length), ‘The Voice of Reason with Matthew Harrison’ (running approximately 15 minutes), ‘The Juggernaut Speaks with John Desantis’ (approximately 13 minutes), ‘The Hammer Speaks with Herbert Duncanson’ (6 minutes) and ‘Sophomore Spookshow with Producer Gil Adler’ (8 minutes). The release also retains various archival extras from previous releases including ‘Thir13en Ghosts Revealed’ (running approximately 19 minutes), plus ‘Ghost Files’ which provides background on all of the spirits narrated by Cyrus (Abraham) (approximately 14 minutes) and the ‘Original EPK’ which includes original interviews with the cast and crew (approximately 43 minutes altogether). The ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes) and ‘7 TV Spots’ (3 minutes altogether) for the movie are also included.